Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on August 5, 2010
NY – Keith Phoenix and Hakim Scott have been sentenced to 37 years in prison after being convicted of a hate-crime murder against Jose Sucuzhanay. The two men mistook the victim and his brother as a gay couple and beat Jose to death with a baseball bat while screaming “Faggot.”
The brothers were walking home, arm in arm, from a bar after a party at a Brooklyn church on Dec. 7, 2008, a cold night. Romel Sucuzhanay had put his coat around his brother to keep him warm and was helping him walk because he was drunk.
The defendants, also leaving a party, pulled up in an SUV and began yelling anti-gay and anti-Hispanic slurs, according to trial testimony.
Jose Sucuzhanay became upset and tried to kick the wheel of the SUV, and Scott got out and smashed the beer bottle over his head, then chased Romel Sucuzhanay down the block with it, according to trial testimony. Phoenix grabbed a bat from the back of the SUV and attacked Jose Sucuzhanay, cracking his skull, according to testimony.
The two drove away and were captured about 20 minutes later on surveillance footage crossing into the Bronx. Prosecutors ended their closing arguments by showing footage of Phoenix on a bridge, smiling.